Will Boulder County Expand Net-Zero Building Requirements?

October 6, 2015 By Carl Weinschenk

BoulderHomes in Boulder County, CO, built in 2022 and beyond will need to produce as much energy as they use, according to the Daily Camera. In addition to its environmental impact, these homes will reduce energy costs. The laws may, however, present challenges to builders. That mandate was established in 2013. The next important date in the program is October 13, when the county Board of Reviews decides whether or not to recommend to County Commissioners the inclusion of homes of 5,000 square feet or greater in the program in 2016. The program is being phased in over 10 year period, according to the story, and will eventually include all homes.

The story focuses on disagreements about how much net zero building adds to building costs. Builders and architects generally say that costs are 15 percent more than traditional approaches, while advocates of the approach says that good design leads to no extra costs.

An image from Zeta Communities posted at Mother Earth News highlighted ten technologies that can contribute to net zero homes. They are solar panels; a heat recovery ventilator; EnergyStar appliances; a wastewater heat recovery system; a high-efficiency heat pump; high thermal performance windows; natural day lighting; high quality insulation; automated controlling and monitoring systems and thermal storage basements.

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